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Kenneth Branagh’s ‘Cinderella’ dances out of a fairytale and onto the silver screen

Disney%E2%80%99s+fairytale+%E2%80%9CCinderella%E2%80%9D+stays+true+to+its+roots+in+the+new+live+action+film+starring+Lily+James+as+the+lead+character.+
Disney’s fairytale “Cinderella” stays true to its roots in the new live action film starring Lily James as the lead character.

Disney’s fairytale “Cinderella” stays true to its roots in the new live action film starring Lily James as the lead character.

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Disney’s fairytale “Cinderella” stays true to its roots in the new live action film starring Lily James as the lead character.

Nicca Panggat, Assistant News Editor

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Arguably the most classic and iconic of all Walt Disney’s princess films, “Cinderella” finds success in live-action, soaring in a way that its predecessors couldn’t.

Director Kenneth Branagh stuck as closely to the original animated storyline as possible in order to pay homage to the iconic legend. It’s a decision that pans out, especially when faced with Disney-remake skepticism following “Maleficent’s” ill-fated flop.

“Cinderella” excels in the depth that it lends to all of its characters without sparing the film’s fairytale touch or transporting its viewers outside of the magical reality.

Lily James stars as the blue-dress beauty confronted with the tragic loss of both her parents. The tradeoff is a wicked stepmother and a set of stepsisters who treat her in the worst way due to their own self-centered personalities and a misplaced sense of jealousy.

Played by Cate Blanchett, the wicked Lady Tremaine steals the show from the moment she glances over her shoulder in searing red lipstick and a veil darker than her intentions.

In the few lines she’s given, Blanchett purses her lips and narrows her eyes under furrowed brows, foreshadowing all of the wickedness she has planned for poor Cinderella.

The difference is that Tremaine’s hatred in this adaptation stems from heartbreak and a lack of love rather than the unquestionable evil from Walt’s original animation.

Knowing this, James does a brilliant job portraying Cinderella’s pure heart and brave face, even when dealing with all of the mistreatment afforded to her by her new stepmother and stepsisters. James drives home the film’s message, “Have courage and be kind,” with all the grace, warmth and affection of a real princess.

Her ethereal beauty only lends credibility to the performance put on by Richard Madden, the dashing prince Kit, who spends his entire appearance in the film falling hopelessly in love. Understandably so, at this point in the story, most of the audience feels the same about James and her interpretation of the character.

The highlight of the live-action is the way its cinematography translates “bibbidi-bobbidi-boo” into magic that even grown-ups can dream about. There’s still so much classic Disney found in the fireworks, Cinderella’s mousey friends and the wild goose-horse-carriage chase, only upgraded in a way that avoids falling into the trap of being too cartoony or cliché.

The stunning scenery, vibrant colors and grand cinematography also work hand-in-hand to bring the story to life. Cinderella’s cottage retains all the charm of a lived-in home while Kit’s castle seems like it was pulled straight from the dreams of a costume-clad seven-year-old on her first trip to Disneyland.

The film does almost everything right. Its only faults lie with Cinderella as a tale, not the director, cast or crew behind it.

The story remains at its core simple with a humble plot in comparison to its sister princess films, but there’s something to be said for the way Branagh’s adaptation commands the attention of all age demographics.

The film is confident in its vision and successful in its reimagining of such a classic tale, leaving only a worthy film that stays loyal to Cinderella’s characterization without sacrificing the humanity of any of its other characters.

 

Release Date: March 13

Director: Kenneth Branagh

Starring: Lily James, Cate Blanchett, Richard Madden

MPAA: PG

Rating: 4/5

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